DoJ cracks whip vs child pornography

With the proliferation of child pornography in the country the past week, the Department of Justice has ordered telecom companies and Internet service providers to perform their obligations under the law that requires them to install software that will block access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography in the Internet.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla stressed that the government would not hesitate to file criminal charges and impose other sanctions against these telco entities and ISPs for failure to fulfill their duty under Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

Under the measure, telco companies and ISPs are mandated to install a program or software that will block access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography in the Internet.

Accordingly, ISPs are required to notify authorities within seven days from discovery that any form of child pornography is being committed using their servers or facilities.

“We will give them an ultimatum; I just have to speak with the Cybercrime Division again so that we will know how long it will take for these key persons to comply with the law. I’ll be speaking to the heads of our Cybercrime Division both the DoJ and the NBI (National Bureau of investigation) so we will know what it would take for them to comply and what is needed. But I will definitely issue an ultimatum,” Remulla said.

He added that he is eying to give the telco companies and ISPs until 15 September if possible.

Remulla also called on the National Telecommunications Commission to impose steep fines against telco companies and ISPs who fail to cooperate in the government’s effort to address online exploitation and abuse of children.

The NTC is a government agency that has supervision, adjudication and control over all telecommunications services in the country including radio and television stations, cable companies and Internet services.

He suggested that telco companies and ISPs should be fined on a daily basis until they have complied with their obligations under the law.

“It has to be steep, but of course, they can be closed down if they become, if they refuse to cooperate,” Remulla said.

He added that officials of telco companies and ISPs may also be held criminally liable as accomplice or accessory to crimes related to online exploitation and abuse of children if they continue to ignore their obligations.

Meantime, Remulla stressed the need of an inter-agency effort to stop the online sexual exploitation of children that should include private telecommunications firms and their capacity to ban access to websites providing pornographic content.

“I hope these telcos will cooperate with the government drive against sexual exploitation of children. These Internet service providers, and telcos should also be with us in these drive,” he said.

The justice chief said the big telecommunications company or Internet providers should be part of the campaign as there is a need for them not to tolerate the illegal operations of people behind child exploitation.

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